Events commemorate organ donors

Quilt display, picnic mark National Donate Life Month for area organ donors and recipients.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham and the Alabama Organ Center are honoring the generosity of organ, eye and tissue donors and their families and celebrating transplant recipients with events throughout April, which is National Donate Life Month.

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The AOC’s Alabama Donor Family Quilt, a testament to the selflessness of Alabamians who donated organs and tissues that enabled others to lead healthy, active lives, is on display 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday in the the tunnel leading from the State Representatives Building to the State Capitol in Montgomery through April 30, 2012. The handmade quilt, comprising eight-inch squares individually designed by donor family members, is an emotional reminder of their generosity.

Transplant recipients will celebrate life with donor families at the annual University of Alabama at Birmingham/Alabama Organ Center Celebration of Life Picnic from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 21 in the UAB Mini Park on the corner of University Boulevard and 14th Street South. 

AOC and UAB Transplant Program caregivers and staff will host the several hundred people expected to attend the event that will include a short program, a “cheer for life” to recognize transplant recipients and their caregivers, photo sessions and a ceremony honoring donors during which new squares will be pinned to the Alabama Donor Family Quilt.

According to Donate Life America, in 2011, state donor registries reached the milestone of 100 million designated organ, eye and tissue donors, and 2,149,057 of those are registered in Alabama; but the need for transplants increases steadily. Of the more than 113,400 Americans on the national organ-transplant-waiting list, 3,550 are waiting in Alabama, according to the Alabama Organ Center. An average 18 people die each day waiting for a transplant.

In January, Donate Life America launched its “20 Million in 2012” campaign to add organ, eye, and tissue donors to the registries in 2012. To register as donor or for more information, visit www.alabamaorgancenter.org.

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